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Agency Leaders Symposium 2023


This carefully crafted program combines inspiring keynotes with informal activities and time to build real relationships.

Marketing Tech Symposium agenda



Delegate registration


Welcome Drinks

Hosted by Nexxen


Drinks in the Lovedale





Chris Savage
Opening Comments

Chris Savage, The Savage Company, Conference MC

Savage Co


Brad Simms
International Keynote: From Zero to Hero – Top CEO on Brutal Self-Assessment, the Era of ‘Business Agency’ and the Wild Ride From Startup Shop to Billion-Dollar Baby

Brad Simms, GALE Global CEO & Founder + Crispin Porter Bogusky Global CEO

Gale, CPB

Leading more than 1000 staff across two global businesses – Adweek’s Breakthrough Media Agency of the Year 2023, GALE, and storied creative powerhouse Crispin Porter Bogusky – CEO Brad Simms thrives on the velocity, hustle and gaping opportunity agencies have.

As a rule-breaker by nature, and keen on tearing up the playbook rather than following it, Simms has no time for the norm and plenty of time for smashing stigmas. He argues until agencies conduct a brutal self-assessment, they’ll be chasing their tails and swimming in consultancy dregs.

Simms’ homegrown startup turned billion-dollar baby, data centric GALE, didn’t exist a decade ago and the now Stagwell-owned agency didn’t have a media practice. It’s now scooping prestigious accolades and leading the charge on climate change by being the largest US agency by headcount to sign up for the Clean Creatives anti-fossil fuel client pledge.

With global clients across the fold including Amazon, Tinder, Chipotle, Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky, Netflix, P&G, H&R Block, Hertz and Dropbox, the former CMO and startup venture capitalist adviser said creative leadership and climate leadership go hand-in-hand and has some stern words for today’s agency bosses.

As well as learning about the highs and challenges of CEO life at GALE and what clients are asking for more of (and less of), Simms will discuss the dual role juggle alongside global full-service agency Crispin, his core belief that consulting and creative have to be closer connected to drive business outcomes, and why being a ‘business agency’ is not just in vogue, but here to stay.


Partner Presentation: Hoops and Highs in the Business of Sport

Nik Weber, Commercial Director, Disney Advertising, ESPN
Paul Smith, Majority owner & chairman of The Sydney Kings, NBL

Nik WeberPaul Smith
ESPN, Disney Advertising, Sydney Kings

It’s no secret the sporting landscape has changed over the years, and as the fastest growing sport in the country, basketball is the game on everyone’s lips.

Join ESPN Australia’s Commercial Director, Nik Weber, for this candid chat with majority owner and chairman of The Sydney Kings, National Basketball League Franchise, Paul Smith.

Australian entrepreneur Smith, who previously sold his homegrown sports consulting firm Repucom to Nielsen Holdings in the US in a multimillion-dollar deal, will share what makes him tick in the business of sport, and why modern-day agency leaders need to stretch beyond the current sports norms when it comes to business.

Given The Walt Disney Company majority owned-ESPN’s links with the global and famed National Basketball Association (NBA), the duo will also hit off the trends and challenges surrounding sports sponsorships more broadly, and what the future holds for one of the hottest sports in the world.


Coffee Break & Networking

Hosted by


Elise Kennedy
Risks, Rewards and Resilience – 2024 Outlook

Elise Kennedy, Head of Technology Research Director – Equity Research, Jarden


Against a global backdrop of economic uncertainty, top research director at investment and advisory group Jarden, Elise Kennedy, will discuss what’s ahead for 2024.

With a lens of cost pressures, interest rates and a threat of recession, Kennedy will set the scene for 2024, what this means for media and marketers, and what could appease investors in this area. She’ll hit off the industries most exposed, will discuss what investors are pressuring CEOs to do with this backdrop – and much more.


Panel: Doing More with Less: The Complex Power of the Purse String

John Clements, Chief Financial Officer, Australia, IPG Mediabrands
Henri Raymond Chief Financial Officer Australia and New Zealand Publicis Groupe
John Rizoski, Chief Financial Officer, 303 MullenLowe
Melissa Fein, Chief Executive Officer, Initiative Australia

John ClementsHenri RaymondJohn RizoskiMelissa Fein
IPG Mediabrands, Publicis Media, ,303 MullenLowe, Initiative

It’s no secret that the cost of doing business is on the up. With pressure to shave costs and trim operational expenses, and clients often less than willing to absorb any increases, it can feel like an impossible task.

With the bottom-line well and truly squeezed, this panel of top industry CFOs, alongside a leading CEO as moderator, will discuss challenges around maintaining margin and more.

From minimising risk amidst economic uncertainty, to navigating varying models, candid panellists will also share top tips on being efficient and effective in a job that’s more complex than ever.


Daniel O'Connor
Partner Presentation: Clearing the Fog: How AI Can Solve 2024’s Year of Reckoning

Daniel O’Connor, Commercial Director, AUNZ, Quantcast


As we round the corner into 2024, the challenges and realities of the digital landscape poses a significant uphill climb for many agencies, and the client relationships they have. The crucial role of measurement seems to have slipped into the background even as the conversation around it gets more important. So how can agencies navigate the complexities of a disrupted digital future rife with fragmentation, particularly on the measurement front? Join Daniel O’Connor from Quantcast, as he gives a first look into how real businesses have used AI to overcome challenges, stay ahead in the evolving digital landscape, and make informed marketing decisions going into 2024.


Tracey Spicer
Keynote: AI – The Bigger Picture

Tracey Spicer AM GAICD, multiple Walkley Award winning author, journalist and broadcaster

Forget strategy hacks, data dabbling, cautious creative conjuring and timesaving comms plans. When it comes to artificial intelligence, leaders must think about a much bigger, more concerning picture. And how they can play a part in improving the outcomes. Walkley Award-winning journalist Tracey Spicer exposes the bias and discrimination embedded in this constellation of technologies, and the ethical conundrums we face at home and in the workplace. This fast-paced and thought-provoking session digs into the transformative technological shifts of our times.

As well as challenging the status quo, Spicer’s deeply researched and illuminating view equips leaders with the tools to make positive change amidst an uncertain future.


Networking Lunch


Andy Lark
The Reckoning

Andy Lark, CEO Group Lark, and Chief Customer Officer, Liven

We are beginning a new period of unprecedented and unrelenting change – a shift that occurs only once every 50 to 100 years. How should agency leaders think about this shift and ensure they come out the other side as winners. Is AI an extensional threat or an immense opportunity?


Wine Tasting

We’ll be taking you to two of the most highly regarded vineyards in the Hunter Valley.


9 holes on the beautiful Rydges Resort Golf Course

Artificial Intelligence Workshop

Dave King, Co-founder, Move 37

Move 37
Dave King

What’s happening in AI? What are the trends, shifts, considerations and risks?

Now is the time to swat up, get prepped, and get ahead.

This not to be missed Artificial Intelligence Workshop will discuss current case studies and examples from brands and agency land, as well as briefing on ‘how to talk AI’, featuring killer techniques to get the most out of prompting.

Don’t fret, the workshop will contain elements of wine and golf.


Relax + Recharge


Pre-Dinner Drinks Reception

Hosted by Cartology


Gala Dinner With After Dinner Speaker

Hosted by Taboola





Villa Checkout




Chris Savage
Opening Comments

Chris Savage, The Savage Company, Conference MC

Savage Co


Partner Keynote: Unlocking the Potential of Generative AI

Nick Seckold, Regional Vice President, Microsoft Advertising
Jason Tonelli, CEO, Zenith Media

Nick SeckoldJason Tonelli
Microsoft Advertising Chartered Zenith

It’s impossible to think about the future of advertising, let alone the future of business, without considering the impacts of generative AI. Nick Seckold, Regional Vice President APAC, will illustrate how Microsoft is thinking about this emerging technology, its impact on the ways we work and the opportunities it will create for advertising.

Nick will then be joined by Jason Tonelli, CEO Zenith Media, for a fireside chat to discuss how agencies and brands are leaning into this transformational opportunity.


Lisa Ortner-Ghouze
International Keynote: Not Strictly Ballroom – The Client/Agency Dance

Lisa Ortner-Ghouze, Global Head of Marketing, Financial Markets, Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered

With an international B2B marketing career spanning over 20 years in London, New York and Singapore, Ortner-Ghouze learned to perfect the art of managing external agencies while keeping her business stakeholders happy. In this international keynote the Singapore-based Global Head of Marketing will share details of the greatest dance of all: the threesome between client, agency and business stakeholders. From translating business objectives into marketing strategies, to getting into the swing of good rhythm, she will share her views on how to reach that 10/10 (or close) partnership score.

With more than 250 marketers across the globe at the publicly listed bank, Ortner-Ghouze will also reveal exclusive research created especially for the Agency Leaders Symposium’s audience that directly taps into the international banking giant’s team of 250+ marketers, its many agency partners and business stakeholders. From insights around how organisations like Standard Chartered view external agencies, to what its agencies expect from a client like Standard Chartered – all will be revealed.


Coffee Break & Networking

Hosted by


Think Tank 1: Creating Resilient Workplace Strategies

Nicole Duncan, Founder and CEO, CR Commercial Property Group

CR Commercial Group
Nicole Duncan

Nicole Duncan has dedicated three decades to helping leaders build strong workplace environments, especially in the current climate. Working closely with major national brands and top ASX-listed companies, Duncan is deeply involved in developing resilient workplace strategies that enable leaders to thrive in dynamic settings.

Although things may seem settled, the truth is that many leaders are still grappling with the dilemma of determining the optimal hybrid working conditions. In this collaborative think tank session, join Duncan as she seeks to inspire, equip, and empower leaders. Attendees are encouraged to come prepared with questions and be willing to discuss the ongoing challenges of striking a balance between in-office attendance and remote work options.

Think Tank 2: First Nations Thinking Should Live in the Heart of Business, Not Just in DEI Plans

Yatu Widders Hunt, General Manager, Cox Inall Ridgeway
Monique Proud, Principal Consultant, Cultural Grounding
Simone Waugh, Managing Director QLD, Publicis Worldwide

Cox Inall Ridgeway, Publicis Worldwide
Yatu Widders HuntMonique ProudSimone Waugh

Our industry can be influential in shaping the culture and psyche of Australia. It’s time for truth-telling.

Post referendum, what is our reflection as an industry where fear of repercussion from employees and clients led to fence-sitting?

What is our industry’s role now, and are we willing to kick into gear and lead change for the most evident Human Rights’ issue in our nation?

Or are we going to lag behind other industries and RAP tick box?

This ThinkTank will kick off as a panel discussion and then quickly move into audience collaboration to understand what the barriers are for agencies to creating real change and how to involve First Nations’ communities from the start and through the whole process of solution-creating. We’ll aim to leave leaders inspired to overcome the stumbling blocks and do more the right way.

Think Tank 3: Retail Media: Riding the Wave

Jacqui Capel, Head of Media, Today The Brave
Paige Wheaton, Chief Investment Officer, Initiative

Today The Brave, Initiative
Jacqui CapelPaige Wheaton

From Walmart in the US to David Jones, Coles and more Down Under, an increasing number of brands are dedicating budgets toward retail media advertising. In this Think Tank we’ll explore the significance of this trend and what the knock-on impact means for agencies.

Think Tank 4: Indie Rock & Roll or a Pivoting Pandemonium?

Simone Gupta, Co-Founder, Supermassive
Justin Hind, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Reunion

Supermassive, Reunion
Simone GuptaJustin Hind

Times seem good for Aussie indies but is it all rock n roll and greenshoots?

In this open forum, independent agencies from across the media and creative landscape will be candid with current business challenges, priorities and opportunities.

From exploring differing growth hotspots to pivoting models, admitting vulnerabilities and sharing speed bumps ahead for 2024, this burgeoning group of entrepreneurs will explore all – the good, the bad and the ugly too.


Panel: The Real CEO

Paul Whittaker, CEO, Sky News Australia
Chris Janz, CEO, Scire
Virginia Hyland, Chief Executive Officer, Havas Media Group Australia
Julie Mathers, Founder of Flora & Fauna and Green + Kind and CEO of Snuggle Hunny

Paul WhittakerChris JanzVirginia HylandJulie Mathers
Sky News Australia, Scire, Havas Media, Snuggle Hunny

For all the talk of failing fast and lessons learnt from mistakes, we don’t tend to hear much about what these actual failures are … until now.

In this candid panel we’ll hear from a trio of top CEOs about their biggest and very real learnings, and how the impact of these vital lessons can last much longer than shorter term successes.


Panel: The Walk and Talk: Protecting Budgets, Agency Value & The Juggle Ahead

Moderated by: Andy Lark, Chief Executive Officer, Group Lark and Chief Customer Officer, Liven
Lucinda Barlow, Senior Director, Head of International Marketing, Uber
Joanna Robinson, Chief Marketing Officer, The Iconic
Liana Lorenzato, Chief Marketing Officer, Modibodi

Andy LarkLuncinda BarlowJoanna RobinsonLiana Lorenzato
Uber, The Iconic, Modibodi, Liven

Join this candid talk with some of the nation’s top marketers to find out what they’re doing to protect their marketing budgets, what they truly want (and don’t want) from their agency partners, and much more.

From championing creativity beyond the marketing department to action around artificial intelligence, shaping 2024 budgets and leaning into new trends, the CMOs will share all.


Closing comments

Lunch & close of Symposium